« GOLD is nothing more than shiny dust in the mud … Nothing is solid enough to restore the sick forest’s value … No merchandise can buy all the human beings devoured by the epidemic fumes. »

Yanomami boy with Achiote face paint and his father’s monkey tail headband, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela

« The white people spread their epidemic fumes throughout the entire forest…by tearing the gold and other minerals out of the earth. They do not want to give up their digging frenzy and their thought remains closed. All that matters to them is is cooking the metal to make merchandise.  Gold is nothing more than shiny dust in the mud, yet the white people can kill for that! It is not gold or merchandise that makes the plants grow or feeds and fattens the game we hunt!
All the white people’s merchandise will never be enough to exchange for the forest’s trees, fruits, animals and fish. The paper skins of their money will never be numerous enough to compensate for the value of its burned trees, its desiccated ground, and its dirty waters. Everything that grows and moves in the forest or under the waters, as well as the xapiri spirits and human beings, has a value far too important for the white people’s merchandise and money. Nothing is solid enough to restore the sick forest’s value. No merchandise can buy all the human beings devoured by the epidemic fumes. »

  • Yanomami spokesman and shaman Davi Kopenawa

Gold mining site in indigenous territory – photo: Miami Herald

Gold mining and the indiscriminate use of mercury to ferret out gold are turning swaths of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems into a nightmarish moonscape! 

Worldwide, illegal gold mining is more lucrative for criminal organizations, drug cartels, guerrilla groups and mafias than drug trafficking. For criminals posing as precious metals dealers, gold is the perfect medium for laundering illicit money from other illegal activities since illegal gold looks exactly like legal gold and the proceeds from selling it can be placed in the bank… 

As much as 75% of the gold extracted each year is used for jewelry, watches and other vain and futile status symbols sold by corporations in the luxury industry as well as discount retailers worldwide.  
Tens of thousands of rainforest trees must be uprooted, hundreds of tons of soil mined and mixed with dozens of tons of toxic environmental pollutants that contaminate Indigenous lands for that one special gold ring…

Please give gifts that don’t destroy nature and the lives of Indigenous peoples!


Yanomami men with bows and arrows in the forest, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela – photo: Barbara Crane Navarro

How is illegal gold undermining forests and Indigenous peoples’ lives in the Amazon? Details on the connections between wild-cat mining and security are the subject of a video released by the Igarapé Institute. The material also presents how public and corporate policies can change this scenario to protect the Amazon rainforest and prevent irreversible climate collapse:

Yanomami observing gold mining site in their territory – photo of Yanomami, Alto Orinoco, Amazonas, Venezuela and photo montage – Barbara Crane Navarro

About Barbara Crane Navarro - Rainforest Art Project

I'm a French artist living near Paris. From 1968 to 1973 I studied at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, then at the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California, for my BFA. My work for many decades has been informed and inspired by time spent with indigenous communities. Various study trips devoted to the exploration of techniques and natural pigments took me originally to the Dogon of Mali, West Africa, and subsequently to Yanomami communities in Venezuela and Brazil. Over many years, during the winters, I studied the techniques of traditional Bogolan painting. Hand woven fabric is dyed with boiled bark from the Wolo tree or crushed leaves from other trees, then painted with mud from the Niger river which oxidizes in contact with the dye. Through the Dogon and the Yanomami, my interest in the multiplicity of techniques and supports for aesthetic expression influenced my artistic practice. The voyages to the Amazon Rainforest have informed several series of paintings created while living among the Yanomami. The support used is roughly woven canvas prepared with acrylic medium then textured with a mixture of sand from the river bank and lava. This supple canvas is then rolled and transported on expeditions into the forest. They are then painted using a mixture of acrylic colors and Achiote and Genipap, the vegetal pigments used by the Yanomami for their ritual body paintings and on practical and shamanic implements. My concern for the ongoing devastation of the Amazon Rainforest has inspired my films and installation projects. Since 2005, I've created a perfomance and film project - Fire Sculpture - to bring urgent attention to Rainforest issues. To protest against the continuing destruction, I've publicly set fire to my totemic sculptures. These burning sculptures symbolize the degradation of nature and the annihilation of indigenous cultures that depend on the forest for their survival.
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5 Responses to « GOLD is nothing more than shiny dust in the mud … Nothing is solid enough to restore the sick forest’s value … No merchandise can buy all the human beings devoured by the epidemic fumes. »

  1. Pingback: « GOLD is nothing more than shiny dust in the mud … Nothing is solid enough to restore the sick forest’s value … No merchandise can buy all the human… | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  2. Louis says:

    Happy New Year and above all good health for you Barbara and for all your family. Friendly kisses from Auvergne. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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